Search

A Ferret Called Wilson

Chasing Happy, Chasing Dreams

Month

July 2015

Unhinged

Recently my SLAMpig told me that my brain is unhinged in a way that enables me to accomplish things that others might not be able to. He was careful to mention that that didn’t mean I was obligated to accomplish things, just that they were accomplishable to me if I so desired.

Today I’m sitting at home in my air conditioned house looking at housing listings online. It hasn’t been a year since I moved here, to a place that I thought was paradise at the time. I told my friend that I was considering moving and she look at me incredulously.

“Again??”

Yes, again. I’m looking for something and I’m willing to take risks to find it. The problem is that what I’m looking for does not fit into the well defined categories of society. I’m seeking freedom, and my People. Those are not things that one can be sure to find if one follows the typical common sense advice.

That’s why I moved out here in the first place. I used to live a ten minute walk from my job. I was in a small apartment in a quiet-ish part of town. Lazy is a better word. It was a corner of town where people drove their cars to work and came home to their families and ate dinner watching tv. They are not my people, of course. But I thought that I might be able to find my people while living there so I stuck it out until 〇〇 called me. There was good reason that I would find my people in 〇〇, so I came here. Here, amid mountains and along a gorgeous river, I suffered through a brutal winter in a drafty house. Just as the weather started to turn pleasant, the tourists arrived, ushered in by my neighbor and his monstrosity of a “Family Lodge” which he carved out of a quiet mountain and now uses to turn peace, solitude and nature into noise, misery and pocket cash.

So I’m off to look again for another place to live. This time, like before, my goal is the same: I want to find a place to live that will put me in touch with my People. This time I have a much better idea of what to look for than before. In short, I know I need green and I know I need quiet. I also know I need a space where I can maintain my bikes. Moreover, this time I think I know who my People are, and where they are, and this time I’m going to pick a spot that I know for sure will make them easier to play with.

These are where I will find my People:

N’~ will be my People. Her friend Komachi will be my People, too.
SiZu-san will be my People. He kind of already is my people, but he’s far from me so it feels like he isn’t my People.
Sempai will be my People. He said he wants to be my people, and who am I to turn that down?

I found a spot that will make all of these people closer to me. It will also make my current workplace closer while keeping me at the foothills of my favorite ride: Iriyama Toge. And it will put me in closer touch with the people who I desperately want to adopt me: Team You Can, Hachioji.

Most people would think this is an awful lot of work to go through just to live closer to some people who aren’t my family. Most people would wonder why I would go through the trouble to still have an hour commute from my job. But I am not most people. I am unhinged and to me, this makes perfect sense. I live a Spartan life as I am told. I have few possessions and at least half of what I own is either a bicycle or a bicycle accessory. Moving for me is actually a simple thing outside of the adjustment period. Sure, I would like to have comfy furniture and Nice Things, but not if they prevent me from finding my Happiness and my People.

I suppose that part of what unhinges me is that I do not value what others value. I do not value comforts in the typical sense. I do not value fancy clothes or expensive electronics. Even as I type this I wonder to myself if there are people who do value those things still; that’s how far removed they are from my life. I do not value a respectable job as I know that a job is something given to me by an organization, not a human, and an organization cannot care for my well being. I do not value money because money cannot buy me People. I do not value convenience because convenience makes people dependent on the civilization around them. I do not value civilization because it separates us from our Humanity.

To me, my decisions are perfectly reasonable and hardly troublesome. I lose nothing of value and I gain adventure by picking up and moving to a new place. I gain the ability to hope for something better, the chance to try something new, the chance to succeed where I have failed in the past. Perhaps the greatest thing I gain is the ability to prove to myself that, I could if I wanted to.

I think Freedom is a skill that one must practice or it will perish. One must practice being free by breaking out of their box, tearing down their boundaries and frightening themselves with the possibility of tremendous change. Most people are not free. Most people are afraid to be free. I am not afraid to be free. I am unhinged.

A True Story

I’m very tired today.

I’ve been tired for several days lately. I keep repeating to myself something like a mantra:

You’re tired because you haven’t been sleeping, not because your life is too hard for you.
You’re lonely because you don’t want to go outside in the heat, not because you don’t have friends.

Lately I put so much effort into managing my oversized brain that I often lose my sense of what is true and what is a story I told myself. This is made more difficult by the fact that I know that truth and facts are as axiomatic as the stories themselves. It’s very slippery to operate at the level of stories because you end up redefining truth even as you are seeking it and in the end you are the only one who can say whether or not you’ve found it.

One thing that I know about stories is that they are easier to accept when you know they are a story. For example, if I told you that humanity today is not at the epitome of gender equality and that human rights have actually taken huge blows in the last twenty years that have put many swaths of society at a greater disadvantage than they were perhaps fifty years ago, you would probably try to argue with me based on facts that I am wrong. On the other hand, if I told you a story about a human society where men and women were interdependent on each other and selfish behavior was punished by death or banishment from the tribe, you would probably listen intently. There would be no reason to argue with me because it would be a story. Stories aren’t true.

…and yet, they create truth. Because once you heard the story of men and women respecting each other, working together and celebrating their complementary strengths, in your deepest consciousness you would know that such a world is possible. Possible and actual are only separated by experience.

This Salad is 700 Kcal, Easy.

This salad is easily 700 Kcalories.wpid-imag3194.jpg

 

This salad is DEFINITELY for people who are trying to lose weight.

It’s also TOTALLY a great idea for athletes struggling to find healthy sources of fuel for their workouts.

It’s also COMPLETELY AWESOME for candida sufferers.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1-2 avocados
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 1 clove raw garlic
  • 2 tbs grapeseed oil (or any other light flavored oil)
  • 1 tbs vinegar
  • some salt
  • some black pepper
  • a floompful of turmeric
  • lots of sesame seeds! (at least a tbs’s worth)
  • lots of sprouts! (any kind will do)

I discovered this salad last year when I was strugging to figure out how to get more raw garlic in my diet. Garlic is the nemesis of candida and I’ve used it to cure vaginal yeast infections successfully. However, the raw garlic burns on the way down so I mixed it with some oil to take the edge off. That was the dressing and the avocado. The other ingredients are just things I threw in later to make it tasty.

And tasty it is!

The sesame was the last ingredient to get added. I can’t eat any type of grain or it messes my stomach up and can cause a flare up in my candida all over my body (skin rashes, athlete’s foot, vaginal yeast, acne, diarhea — all of these I’ve linked through my diet to candida and simple sugars). Unfortunately if you take out pasta rice and bread from your diet, most people will find they are easily loosing as much as 600-1000 Kcalories per day. Using the rule of 4 I calculated that I need to consume at least 200 Kcal per hour of fuel on my rides which means any day that I’m on my bike easily puts my caloric needs at 3000 or more. That’s a tall order to fill without grains.

I heard that fat was the most efficient fuel source and so I wondered, what exactly is the definition of efficient? Sesame seeds pack 600 Kcal per 100 grams. As a cyclist, I’m a weight weenie, too. Rice (uncooked) comes in at just over 300 per 100 grams. Holy wow! Even for on the go fuel, sesame seeds kick the ass of rice or bread any day. Almonds, cashews and peanuts are all similar in their energy per gram value.

So I down the salad after rides like there’s no tomorrow. It’s an ecstacy of filling my belly, cleaning my digestive system, satisfying my taste buds (this is comfort food like lasagna wishes it was comfort food!) and giving my muscles the nutrients they need to perform.

Love it.

Oh, and I forgot. Why is a 700 Kcal salad good for people trying to lose weight? Because the reason you’re overweight is most likely due to you eating too much food without nutrients in it. You can’t go wrong with this salad.


 

 

Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Seeds, sesame seeds, whole, roasted and toasted.

Nutrition Facts and Analysis for Avocados, raw, California.

Connections

Why is it so difficult to make connections with other people?

I have fought with this problem for many years. The last time I can remember having people with whom I really felt comfortable — truly, self conciouslessly comfortable — was when I was twelve years old.

I was in sixth grade and I wore baggy shorts and oversized band T-shirts. I sat on walls, hacked computers and bantered with the smartass boys in school. I was a dancer, but I wasn’t friends with the dancers. They were always too popular for me, spending their time wearing makeup and having boyfriends. I had a best friend then, too.

My best friend was much, much richer than I was. She collected San Rio stationary and we would practice trying to draw our own versions that were as cute as the original characters. I got somewhat decent at a Pochako. In science class we would massage each other’s palms to pass the time and stay awake. I think for me it went extremely far in keeping me out of fights with the teacher. He was dimwitted and boring. Taught out of a textbook, but did it so poorly that we couldn’t cover half of the material in one year. Instead of frogs, we dissected raw chicken wings in class. He wouldn’t let me participate because I had forgotten to get a note from my mom saying it was ok. So I sat in the corner and ate the friend chicken wings I had brought for lunch, making sure to pull apart each muscle group and lay it out on the table before eating. I thought he was a moron.

When middle school ended I went to high school. Some of my friends went with me to the special arts school I got admitted to, but my mom pulled me out soon after that because the school’s curriculum was so intense that it was destroying my health. I went to two more high schools after that and in my junior and senior year, I had gone from having something around two dozen humans that I was moderately to extremely comfortable with, down to knowing no one. Of course I tried to make friends, but I remember very distinctly that I spent the majority of my high school years watching other people having friends, studying how they interacted, learning about their relationships like a scientist watching insects through a magnifying glass.

College was a similar story as high school. I transferred into Yale University as a sophomore. I immediately went in search of my people, who I thought would be hanging out at the campus Christian clubs, but they weren’t there. A devout Christian my whole life, only intensifying when I passed through puberty and into young adulthood, I fully expected to be loved and accepted if not because that’s what Christians are supposed to do, but at least because the other people who were there would be like me. What I realized, however, was that the people who were there weren’t so much like me as they were busy being Christians. That meant that they were busy praying, busy quoting the Bible, busy seeing His Work all around, busying having faith and busy being reborn and stuff. What they weren’t doing was loving, experiencing the moment in which their whole lives were occurring, or seeing me for the whole, complete, raw and vulnerable human that I was.

I remember the moment I quit organized Christianity. I was sitting with the campus Christian group one evening. It had been a rough day for me mostly because I was still adjusting to all the newness that college life, specifically college life at an elite Ivy League university which was isolated from the outside world and far away from home. I remember I said the word “shit” in a sentence expressing my frustration over something. Actually, it wasn’t even frustration. It wasn’t even that important. I just like using cuss words. And this one girl, a black girl with an evangelical streak, looks me in the eye and says, “how can you call yourself a Christian when you use language like that?” It was then that I realized that Christians, whether or not their beliefs were aligned with any kind of universal Truth, were not my People. The strangest part of the entire scene was that I didn’t get angry at her. I simply got up and left. I didn’t make a scene, I didn’t argue, and frankly I didn’t even feel compelled to. It was like a switch had turned and a window had opened and I could see it clearly as the bright morning sun: These are not my people.

I’ve been searching for my people ever since. They are not the dancers. They are not the Christians. They are not the type A studious over achievers. They are not the academics. They are not the rock climbers (though there was a time when I was sure they were). They are not the hippies, (though there was a time when I was pretty sure they were, too).

When I came to Japan I left everything I had behind me. The only things of value I brought were my weasels and my bikes. Everything else that came with me was purely out of utility: having it would be easier than having to buy it all fresh when I got here. I brought no friends, no family, no lover, and I had none waiting for me. I thought to myself that in order to be Free, I couldn’t let the fact that these things were not here prevent me from taking a chance, going on an adventure and perhaps finding the People that I had lost twenty years ago. I determined that I would find my people no matter what, and if I couldn’t find them, I would make them.

I found some people when I got here. They were fellow mountain bikers and at first I was sure they would be my People. I poured my heart into loving them. I made myself available for any chance there was to hang out, to help them, or to have them play with me. I went so far as to rearrange my work schedule to coordinate our days off in the vain hope that that would mean we might get to spend time together as friends. When they upset me, even though it was against my habits, I made sure to tell them because if you never fight it only means that you don’t love each other enough to want to fight. No one gets along all the time.

But in the end I realized that these people, too, were not my People. I think in the beginning I believed they were my people because the times when we couldn’t hang out, when they couldn’t pay me attention, or I otherwise didn’t feel wholly comfortable around them, I had an excuse to explain it away. In the beginning it was language. Then my language got better, but my relationships didn’t. Then I thought that it was the work schedules. They were busy overworked Japanese and so I moved my commitments around so that the time was available, should they want it, but no invitations to dinner or to ride ever came in. I wondered to myself if maybe the distance was propriety: a customer cannot have a close relationship with staff. I asked for a job (for no pay) in the hopes that becoming staff would both ease their schedules and make me part of the group that was allowed to have close relationships, but I was turned down with no explanation. Out of ideas and out of explanations, I finally had to conclude that I had been pouring my heart into a receptacle that simply drained it out again onto the dusty dry ground underneath.

Why is it so hard to build connections with other people? My ex husband used to say that if everyone around you seems to have a problem, the most likely explanation is that the problem is you. I tried believing that for a while. No doubt that kind of thinking is what led me to drain myself so thoroughly trying to establish a meaningful connection with people who do not love me. Other people like to say that if you have to work so hard at a relationship, it’s not a relationship worth having, or that the other person doesn’t deserve you. I don’t like to talk about what people do and do not deserve. None of us asked to be on this earth, so since we’re here, why should we not all deserve to be loved? I don’t think desert is a very useful concept for understanding people. No, the people who I wanted desperately to be mine did not fail to deserve me, they simply do not love me.

As an economist I am trained to look at systems. Most specifically, I am trained to look at the systems built by people that form the environment in which we operate. I look around me and I see people doing similar things and being in the same places, even wanting the same things, but it is as if each and every one of us lives our life inside a sphere of isolation. We pass each other on the street and perhaps we give a nod to the other’s existence, but do we really see that person? Could we start a conversation with them if we wanted to, and what would we say? We each do our jobs and then we go home to our cages where our entire world shrinks to the size of the house we live in. Those of us who are lucky enough to have found a family by the time they reach adulthood can go home to theirs. The rest of us? We have to build a reason to see anyone, talk to anyone, touch anyone. And the reasons, so many of them are impolite, inappropriate or shameful.

I want to be touched. I want you to touch me. Please, just touch me.

I want to see you, just you. I don’t really mind what we are doing, I just want you to be around.

Please, let me show you my heart. Let me show you my fears and my desires. I want you to help me carry them.

I want to show you my joy. I want you to smile and celebrate what I have. Please, be happy for me.

I want to swim in your glory. I want to know you down to the synapses of your nerves. I promise I will be kind. Won’t you share yourself with me?

Humans were never intended to live alone, be independent, or survive without touch. The evidence is written all over our bodies and even our brains. Yet, the world that we live in, it builds walls between us. Glass walls. Touch screen walls. Walls through which you can see but never touch. Our world makes it incredibly difficult to build connections with people.

I often wonder to myself, am I the only one who suffers the pain of this isolation? Do the others around me, shuffling glassy-eyed down the street, do they not desire to touch another human? I think they do. What baffles me is that if we all crave the same thing, and it is such a simple thing, why is it that we all live our lives starved for it?

Why in my own life do I feel like I will suffocate from loneliness?

Goals

Taking a momentary break from my self reflection and mourning, I would like to talk about where I am going next. I have a few goals:

  1. I will write a book. The theme of the book is the mythology of economics, in other words, it is the explanation and analysis of the Story that economics weaves for us about who we are and the world we live in. It is a critical work which will not only tear apart the foundation of a pseudo-science that has long ago outlived its use for society, but will also prescribe a solution to the problems it has caused for us. It is a happy book full of hope and promise for a better future, something economics has not been able to promise us since I was a little girl.
  2. I will consult as a freelancer. I have held back from this because I don’t know how to get started. Well, just yesterday I read a page on a woman’s blog where she offers writing services. Just like that. “If you want writing services, please contact me. My fee will vary based on the type of writing and projected time to completion.” So, if she can do it, I can do it. So I will. Just like that.
  3. I will return my legs to 100% of their ability for Sunday practice. I have been suffering and struggling with over training for nearly a month now. When I look at the rides I have been doing over the past four months, it is no surprise. While I am still reeling from a major bike related loss, I think I have enough stability that I can stop using cycling to medicate my anxiety, depression, and loneliness and start shaping my miles into something that will make me stronger. It is no longer enough for me to just ride, I need to ride with purpose. My coach said he will make me a training plan as I grow as a rider, but that I should prioritize both recovery and my Sunday practices above all other riding activities.

Goal number three is the most well formed, present, and exciting for me right now. It is also going to be very difficult. I am still struggling with my candida infection which means that fueling for my training rides is always a monumental task. Currently I am focusing on fat based fuel sources and just making sure that I have enough of them available on a daily basis to satisfy my caloric needs. When that becomes more stable I will shift towards incorporating the fats into more balanced meals, as opposed to just eating handfuls of sesame seeds as I am doing now. I am pretty confident I have enough protein, so right now the calories are the most critical.

The second part of my plan to accomplish goal number three is adequate rest. I ride compulsively, like alcoholics drink, and I know that. I am currently considering a 1-ride plan. That is, I am allowed one ride per week that has no purpose whatsoever except that I want to be on the bike. I can spend it commuting to work or riding with Mieko or some other friend (assuming I find one), but I only get one. Other miles are either easy recovery spins or tits-out leg burns. No pointless miles.

I hope to accomplish goal three in two weeks, but it’s ok if it takes me three. No matter what, though, I want to see what 100% of my ability looks like come August. I need this in order to know how to plan the rest of my year. I only have 10 months before race season starts!

Comprehending Swine

I was talking to the Pigs* this morning and he told me about a story that had been making the rounds of facebook. A woman was disillusioned with her job and three years ago walked out to go on vacation. She never went back and she is still vacationing. Primarily she lives off her savings, hitch hikes and couch surfs, but she will occasionally work along the way. I have no idea how she does this, but I desperately want to know!

Most of the facebook comments, however, were derisive in the fashion most typical of online forums. Anonymity assholification is what I call it; it is the phenomenon where otherwise perfectly decent human beings act like complete jerks because the anonymity gives them courage to act out. People said that it wasn’t a real three-year vacation because she had to work sometimes. Others said she could only do it because of her white privilege. Very few comments were positive and the majority of them were banal, overused and hardly relevant to the actual story. The Pigs said to me that it made him sad to see how the vast majority of the world still isn’t ready to accept that there is another way to find happiness outside of the rat race that’s killing us all.

I said to him “it’s pearls before swine.” I am not much of a Bible quoter, though ironically I reference the Bible more now that I have quit Christianity than I ever did as a follower. The wisdom in this passage is this: If you have pearls and you throw them before a heard of swine, they will just swallow them and shit them out with the other food they forage for. Swine will eat anything, and it all turns to shit. I’m not sure that Jesus used the same phrasing, but I think “pearls to shit” has impact. The beautiful story of a woman with the courage to walk away from the Standard Narrative and forge her own path, when it was posted on facebook, became a pearl that was quickly swallowed by the masses of swine that populate the Interwebs.

In my own life I feel as though I have collected, discovered and refined great swaths of pearls in the form of experience, knowledge and wisdom. I want to share them with the world. I want to show the people around me that there is a way to have happiness and, while it is not easy, it is very simple to do.

The reality that I face, though, is that most people are simply not ready. I could give them one of my pearls and they wouldn’t know it from a moth ball. For me, right now, the challenge is to find the people who want to hear my message. There is no use in fighting with those who are grounded in opposition, however I am sure there are people, like the woman who is still on vacation, who would like to hear what I have to say. Maybe she knows something that I don’t, but I am sure that even those who have begun to forge their own paths to happy would still appreciate having the company and the communion from another who also deviates.

I had another moment of a similar nature earlier today. In realizing that my relationship with the Giant store had come to an end, I felt that I needed to give voice to my feelings and share them with those involved. So I sent a message to Thunder explaining to him that I was going to separate myself from him and the shop because I felt unneeded and unappreciated. He wrote back to me a message I have heard many times before, “I don’t know why you’re so upset, but do what you have to.” It’s a common reply from boys who don’t want to acknowledge that something they are doing could be causing pain to another. I stewed on the message over night. Of course it hurt to be brushed off after sharing my honest feelings and I was mad. I was also frustrated that, even as it is often incredibly difficult to find the right words in English, I had to do this in Japanese and still he refused to help me even in communicating.

In the end I realized that I was dealing with another case of swine. I believe in love. I believe in the fundamental goodness of people. It is a habit of mine to react to people with love and empathy, to try to understand their perspective and why they behave the way they do, and to avoid passing judgment on them as Good or Bad. But swine do not understand about love. They believe in Good and Evil and Winners and Losers. They believe that when people disagree someone is right and someone is wrong. They don’t understand that sometimes both people can want the same things and still be unable to find a solution.

If you give your love to swine, you will just get shit in return. Ironically, I don’t blame the swine for this, either. It is just their nature. It still hurts, though. I think it hurts even more because if I could say, “you are a terrible person!” then I could feel as if my loss was not so great. After all, who mourns the loss of shit? No one. But the loss of something beautiful that, try as you might, you could never fully own though it had been flitted before your eyes repeatedly, and tauntingly? This is truly painful.

Part of me still hopes that what I am saying is not true. Part of me still hopes that this beautiful thing that once seemed available to me is not actually gone. It is the same part of me that hopes that the world will one day wake up and hear my message: You can have freedom, you can have love, you can have happiness, and you can have all of it right now. All you have to do is want it: see it, want it, reach out and take it. It’s that simple.

And yet, again I find myself standing with arms full of pearls and no one but swine to give them to.


Continue reading “Comprehending Swine”

Goodbye, Cruel Boys, I’m Leaving You Today

I’m in pain again today. I’m suffering a loss and it really, really hurts.

Yesterday I went to watch the Ishikawa JCBF series road race in Ishikawa, Fukushima. It was my first time to Fukushima and I have to say, at least in the area I was in, there is no evidence of the meltdown. I got sunburned, though, so maybe I shouldn’t be too relaxed.

I went with Thunder and a selection of regulars from the Everwin team. When I asked if it was ok for me to go and watch, Thunder (who is in charge of the team) told me that it was ok, except that I would have to ride in the back with the bikes because the athletes take priority. Whatever, I’m ok with that. Turned out that the back was very nice and the other guys were fighting over it because we were all massively sleep deprived and exhausted from the heat. In the back, you could lay down and actually sleep.

When we arrived at the race site everyone got out to ride across town to the registration booth. I didn’t know how far it was, or where it was, but I had my sweet new race baby (Kookaburra), and I was committed to the day so I did my best to keep up.

I couldn’t keep up. I got lost. I had no cell reception and even though there were staff along the race course, I had no idea what to even ask them. “Hey, uh, I’m looking for my friend’s car… No, I don’t know where he parked it. Or where I am. Or what I’m even doing out here.” With no wallet, phone, or food and my stomach running on so close to empty that I was starting to get dizzy in the early morning heat, lost and with no way of knowing how to get back before the race started and the roads closed, I just sat down and cried.

Somehow I managed to figure out where the car was. Thankfully, it was also unlocked and I was able to feed myself. As I sat on the concrete, alone with my bike, it occurred to me that not only was this not the first time this has happened to me, but it seems to be part of a pattern.

Thunder does not seem to give a shit about what happens to me.
The Giant store manager might give a shit, but it’s apparently too much work.
The girls at the Giant store are useless wastes of good flesh.
The boys on the Giant team are too oblivious to know how hard I work to be able to play with them, or how exhausting it is to always be the one who gets dropped and needs special attention.

In the heat, far from home and disconnected from anyone who cared about me, I realized that my relationship with Giant is over.

The Giant store was my salvation when I came to Japan. I was lonely and lost and they gave me a place to be, bikes to ride, trails to play on and support in my life. And then something happened. I got too big for them, maybe? And now it feels like I’m nothing more than a burden to them all the time. I try to help and they don’t want my help. I try to play and I get brushed off. I try to train and I get ignored. I try to do business with them and, well, I get ignored there, too. I don’t know what happened or why, but I know that the safety and comfort that the people there represented to me at one time is gone now and nothing I can do will bring it back.

And this hurts.

This hurts a fucking lot.

And you know? I can’t help but wonder if a large part of this isn’t the language barrier. People think I’m fluent in Japanese, but mostly they’re rounding up. I’m only fluent when people are talking to me directly and in person. On the phone, in a group, or about a subject I’m not familiar, I struggle to keep up. I wonder if my inability to have a relationship with the people who I desperately wanted to be friends with is that they are all simply too busy to take the time to give me the individual attention I need to actually communicate. Of course I’m angry because if they cared at all about me, they would, at least on occasion, take the time and energy to check in on me. It’s not like I ask a lot, and I’m incredibly flexible. Like with the car. If he told me I had to ride on the roof with the bikes I would make it work.

It’s one of the reasons why I’m so dissatisfied with my job. There’s no reason for anyone to need to interact with me. My students can just sit there. My colleagues never pass me in the hall. But even if they did, they don’t share the same passions that I have.

In the end, I feel pretty damn hopeless that I will ever have a family. I feel like I may never be free of this chronic, aching loneliness that plagues every waking moment of my life. It’s pretty scary to be here. I feel very close to the edge of nothing matters at all. I know that place. I hate that place.

Once I used to be pretty resilient. I have lived with pain since I can remember, but long ago I still had hope. I was still able to tell myself that if it all went to shit I could go and sell sandwiches on the beach in Italy. Now I know that I’m too restless for that. Now I know that even that life would be too hard for me. I would feel constrained eventually, and dead without a greater purpose.

And the loneliness wouldn’t go away.

I guess the ultimate truth that I am coming to is that I am different. I used to want to believe that I wasn’t different, that I was just imagining it, or that if I wanted something I could just go out and get it, even if that something was friendship. I have never put so much work and so many tears into having a friendship before. I think I’ve come further with the Giant boys than I’ve come with anyone*, maybe. And to see it all come crashing down in a stinking pile of shit…

Well, it just makes you think that maybe the problem is with you. Maybe you’re unfixable and unlovable. Maybe you really are different, and that’s why no one wants you around.

女子仲間

5年近くかかったが、やっとサイクリングの女子仲間が見つかりました。

なんて嬉しいことですね。

土曜日のことですが、朝8時青梅駅集合で、100キロ近く一緒に走りました。青梅から奥多摩湖まで走って、そこからやさしい帰り道を探したら、なかなかありません。そうですね。山の中を走っているとヤサシイ道はないんですね。都民の森経由で五日市まで一緒に下りてきました。獲得標高は2000メーター強でした。

こんなコースはもう慣れています。しかし暑い中を走って熱中症にもなって、切のない上りも、恐怖心の強い下りも、その全てのことを私の同じ心を持った女と共有するのは何よりの幸せでした。

帰ってきて数回のメールを通じたらこう言われました。

あなたはもう一人じゃない。

そうですね。一人の仲間でも見つかったらもう一人じゃありません。これから何でもできるように感じます。

そして、やりたいことは一つぐらいです。自分暦最強に最も速くになることです。

自分の限界が知りたいです。私は、どこまでいけるのでしょう?wpid-imag3102.jpg

The Modern Yin and Yang

Historically, men and women have always existed in a kind of balance with each other, with each gender filling in its own roles that together make society work. Over time, those roles have changed, and depending on location they have started from different places as well. Recently, however, I get the distinct impression that the role of the female is being stamped out and made to be irrelevant. Our society is becoming completely yang and we are suffering for it.

Taking a grand view, the devaluation of the feminine in western society can be traced back to agriculture. Nomadic humans were “fiercely egalitarian,” as Brian and Jethalda put it in their earth shaking volume Sex Before Dawn. Sharing of work and of bounty was the most efficient way to moderate the risks of the ancient environment. Depriving women or other members of society because they were weak was simply not an option. For one thing, the smaller stature of the female enabled her to nurse young children on the same caloric intake of her male counterparts. Moreover, modern studies of female labor have proven that pregnancy and the presence of nursing infants had nearly no impact on the average 18 pounds of food per day that women gathered. Hunting, on the other hand, was comparatively more risky both in its costs and its rewards. To devalue the feminine in a hunter-gatherer society would be to expose yourself to many a hungry night.

With the advent of agriculture, women were able to nurse for shorter periods and thus became more fertile. Children were able to work on the farms from as young as four or five and so producing many children became economically advantageous to the increasingly isolated and independent family unit. Disease and malnutrition also increased with agriculture making the viability of each pregnancy less reliable. The result was that women became domesticated, along with the animals they depended on for food. Men, on the other hand, were relatively unaffected physically by the shift to agriculture.

The beginning of gender imbalance arrived with the technological shifts associated with independent, agricultural based living. Furthermore, because agriculture was a much more stable source of food on a short run scale, the focus on sharing decreased and competition increased. With each family unit responsible for itself, there was incentive to hoard food and to exchange it for services, favors or other necessities instead of share it openly. With agriculture was born capitalism.

And capitalism is responsible for the continuing degradation of the feminine. Where once fertility was a valued trait in a women, it is now a liability. Children do not increase the prosperity of a household but rather suck its resources. Producing children also becomes a trade off, putting women’s very physical nature at odds with their desires and desirability in the work force. Economic obsession with marginality and comparative advantage has also lead to the conceptual division of fertility from male and female. Where once it was believed that a child required a man and a woman (or in some places many men and a woman) to create and raise, operationally we behave today as if the entire weight of reproduction is carried on female shoulders. It then becomes a natural economic imperative to value male labor over female, particularly in industries where children are considered burdensome to production.

I think it is no accident that today activities which are considered difficult, requiring of high skill, or respectable are given male identities while equivalent activities that are mundane, or necessary but not difficult, are associated with the female. For example professors are men while teachers are women. “Cooking” is something you have to do at home so that you can feed yourself or your family and many women cook, but men are chefs. Similarly, supporting roles are assigned to women while forefront performance roles are given to men. Lawyers are male and paralegals are female. Bosses are male and secretaries are female. Sewing is a women’s task, but fashion designing is controled by men. When you look at the distinctions, there is very little difference in the actual activities involved in many of these paired occupations. For example, what does a chef do if not cook? How does one create new fashion without sewing the clothes? Can a paralegal properly type up a court decision if she does not understand the laws about which she writes? These distinctions are not in any way related to the fundamental nature of male and female so much as they are imposed from the outside in order to support the status quo of a highly competitive performance male, and an accomodating female.

The trouble with economics is that it is built upon the idea that competition is fundamentally a good thing because it raises us all up to our individual potential and guides our choices in such a way that without needing to hold a committee meeting, we can all corrdinate our activities with each other to achieve maximal bounty. What economics does not acknowledge, however, is that the rules that govern our interactions with each other — market rules, commercial law, human capital investment — are made by the very actors that are bound by them.

The difference between economic government and democratic government, however, is that in a democracy each human is worth one vote whereas in economics, each dollar is worth one vote. So in the end, equality is always a very precarious equilibrium. It only takes the tiniest sliver of advantage for one individual or group to be able to amass a majority of the wealth and once this happens all the surplus can be devoted towards shifting the rules in such a way to protect and grow that majority. Corporations are guilty of this, but men are guilty of it, too. Sadly, women are also guilty of participating in the fray. Indian culture is a prime and awful example. A woman’s value is derived primarily by the success of her eldest son. In old age it is her eldest son who will care for her. Thus a woman is driven from the start to neglect her daughters and her sisters and pour all her devotion into the men in her life — her husband who controls her present and her son who controls her future. This sad truth is a reality that was created by a society that had a surplus of power and a lack of incentive to protect equality.

I claimed that the dominance of yang over yin in our modern world was hurtful to all of us, not just our women. Men who are comparatively more yin, that is more passive and accomodating, or more gentle, are devalued just as women are devalued in general. This argument was made by Emma Watson to the UN in a recent presentation on women’s rights, but even this is not the whole story. We humans need to be complete and to live complete and full lives that accept, cherish, and nurture all aspects of ourselves. A man who has been forced into a mould that does not fit is an unhappy man just as a woman who has been squashed into a box that cannot contain the whole of her being is an unhappy woman. Yet man and woman will seek each other out and seek happiness in each other. But how can we find happiness in another when none of us know happiness ourselves?

The suppression of the yin in our world is a form of socially expressed self loathing. It is a hatred for the acceptance of the Way Things Are and a willingness to find happiness in one’s current circumstances. It is a disgust for our personal weaknesses and our inability to change the things that hurt us. It is a denial of the pain we experience on a daily basis, pain which defines us and brings us life even as it hurts us. I will even go so far as to say that the love affair with yang is a form of hubris, believing that man is superior to the nature that created him, and the nature that still defines him today. It is the belief that we as humans know better than the environment that carved out our existence so many millions of years ago and that our power to control is greater than the power of Nature to destroy, to kill, and to rebirth again.

Man can no more live without woman than humans can live without the earth. I believe that the future of humanity lies in our ability to restore the balance of Yin and Yang in our society and in our world.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑